New Year

Hello, friendly denizens of the Interweb. Having just woken up at 1:45PM (MST) after a really quite excellent New Year’s party (including friends I hadn’t seen in years– and new, cool people I hadn’t met before), I’m now camping out at a coffee shop to hang out and play with my XO without waking the rest of my family up.

I met a really interesting older gentleman last night. I’d been told he had, at one time, worked in computers (a slight hazard of being a CS student in Montana: everyone introduces you to their friend/cousin/uncle/son/poodle who “works in computers,” which can, and has, included such diverse career paths as mechanic, plumber, and cable repairperson; all of whom are interesting to talk to, but none in quite the same area as myself)– so I sat down with him. As it happened, this man had not so much “worked with computers” before retiring as “invented the digital computer.” He had been an original member of the IBM Stretch Project, which brought us a few important things that you might have heard of– e.g., the byte!

Anyway, we got to talking– about his work, about the rise in the need for computer security work (“we never saw that coming”), and eventually, about the XO; as he’d seen the article on 60 Minutes (which I recently saw described as “catnip for old people,” possibly one of my favorite quotes ever), but had naturally not seen the device in person. He was so taken with the five-minute demo I gave him (and just the experience of holding one in his hands) that he rushed downstairs to our big computers (the wireless in my house being sketchy, the XO does not always play well with it) to order one himself– six minutes before the end of the Give One, Get One program. Presumably he’ll have his own little green fun laptop before too long– and in any case, he definitely counts as one of the coolest people I’ve met all year.

Tomorrow’s project: driving to Helena (the state capital) and back. More on that, I hope, later.

Entropy: Number of outstanding tasks: 22.